Once again, Google (or Alphabet to be precise) is going to bin another ambitious project. This time around, the unfortunate project is the Google Fiber project. Google Fiber was launched with the sole aim of providing the fastest internet access known to man to cities and communities across the United States.
The Google Fiber mission must have included taking the vision global after what was expected to be successful roll-outs of the program in the US.
The announcement of the discontinuation of Google Fiber came via the mouth, or blog post authored by the CEO of Access, the division under which Google Fiber was domiciled as part of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
According to Access CEO, Craig Barratt,:
Now, just as any competitive business must, we have to continue not only to grow, but also stay ahead of the curve — pushing the boundaries of technology, business, and policy — to remain a leader in delivering superfast Internet. We have refined our plan going forward to achieve these objectives. It entails us making changes to focus our business and product strategy. Importantly, the plan enhances our focus on new technology and deployment methods to make superfast Internet more abundant than it is today.
It is always a sad thing when the head of a company has to make these sort of announcements. Especially when it involves cutting the source of livelihood of many people.As he pointed out in the blog post, many people would have to be sacked as Access looks for new ways to deliver fast internet access to people in the country.
Though he didn’t say how many people are losing their jobs, some reports put the figure at about nine percent of the work force. And it is very likely that those to be sacked would come from cities where Access had plans to roll-out Google Fiber services soon.
For those who already had Google Fiber, they would continue to enjoy the service for now. What would happen in the future is any body’s guess as Alphabet is on a mission to force the divisions under it to cut costs and bring in more revenue instead.
Laying of Access workers also affected the CEO. which is a clear sign that Google intend to take the division in a different direction. It is very likely the new CEO would reflect the new direction of Access.
Craig Barratt did not give any indication of who the new CEO would be. However the course for Google Fiber could be wireless. Since Alphabet is looking to cut costs without actually abandoning the dream of providing super fast internet to communities, using wireless connection could be the way to go.
With wireless, fast internet could be deployed faster and cheaper and without the problems of laying fiber optics cables in town and cities.
The company gave an indication of going the wireless route when it bought Webpass, an internet provider with a lot of experience in providing wireless access.
Though Google called it ‘pausing‘, what happened to Google Fiber is actually a killing of the program as far as I am concerned. The whole experience shows it is not easy to become a telecoms company overnight.
Because with Fiber, Google was attempting to be a major player in the telecommunication industry. By using fiber cables, they wanted to provide the the best connectivity at a cheaper rate. In short, they wanted to show the old telecoms that providing internet service could be done in a better way.
Well, they just found out what the older companies knew already. Unless you want to be a charity, wireless is definitely the way to go.